Dispute in Pakistan

Once a dark and quiet town, Chingai, Pakistan, was rocked by thundering explosions in the early morning. Oct. 30, a joint operation between the United States and Pakistan launched a missile attack against an alleged terrorist base. It seems that Pakistani helicopters carried out the attack. However, this instance is more complicated than it first appears. After the attack, media outlets hailed the attack as a successful mission that took out an important terrorist training ground. Soon after, information surfaced which made this event appear to be massacre. At least 80 civilians were killed at what is now being recognized, as not a terrorist base, but as a school. Nearly all of the people killed were children or teenagers. Of the people at the site of the attack, there were only three survivors. According to 22-year-old survivor Abu Bakar, “There was no militant training in [Chingai].” Bakar had come to the school to perform studies in religion. The other two survivors were ages 15 and 16. Despite these new facts, both presidents Bush and Musharraf said that they had been observing this base for nearly a week and were convinced that it was not a school. Musharraf still refuses to let any human rights groups, politicians, or even journalists near the site. “Anyone who says that these people were innocent is telling lies,” Musharraf said. Oct. 31, thousands of protesters took to the streets demanding that those responsible be held accountable. Some of the more radical groups protesting threatened suicide attacks against Pakistani troops. The Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based group, is calling for an independent investigation of the attack. The head of the HRW has stated that it wants to learn the identities of the soldiers that carried out the assault and how it was planned, as well as the identities of the people that were killed. A South Asian researcher for this group said, “The Pakistani government must provide a credible account of the legitimacy of the attack.” The U.S. led War on Terrorism started in Afghanistan in 2001. It later spread to Iraq, when the Bush administration demanded that Saddam Hussein relinquish the weapons of mass destructions that he did not have. While the death toll of American troops broke over 2000 in mid Oct., there still is no end in sight. With rumors floating around about a possible invasion of Iran, it seems that the U.S. has helped attack another country. If it turns out that the Bush administration was wrong once again about their intelligence of terrorist locations, it could mean even less support for the president who has achieved the lowest ratings in our country’s history. It is unclear what will happen next as the situation continues to escalate. Many people have expressed the desire that this situation will be resolved as quickly and as peacefully as possible. However, it is also possible that this tragedy could lead to even more similar acts. Only time will tell.